As I got changed into my work clothes at the gym, I overheard a lady saying “So, I’ve booked my funeral, I’m going to be burnt at Harrogate Crematorium.” Firstly, I thought- wow, very open and honest about her own demise, but then I started to wonder- why shouldn’t she be?
Leaving this green and pleasant land, for some, can be terrifying. Mainly because of the fear of the unknown. But ultimately it’s something we are all going to have to face.
So why is the topic of death such a taboo? Why is it considered crass to talk about arranging your own departure? I don’t think it should be. Many who take on their funeral arrangements do so in the hope that their family doesn’t have to deal, not only with the trauma of loosing someone near and dear, but with the organisation that goes into a funeral, the costs, the cask, the transport, the wake- all whilst in mourning.
Most funeral homes and undertakers offer packages these days, that allow you to pre-organise your funeral- including a payment plan, so you can pay bit by bit over a period of time until is it fully paid.
There’s so much choice nowadays, you can also choose an eco friendly funeral- where your cask is a rather nice looking basket or a personalised coffin, which is a really unique way go. There is an option of cremation, which in very basic terms your ashes are stored and returned to your family- or you can be planted as a tree or made into a diamond.
Due to the nature of not wanting to dwell on death, many people might not even consider end-of-life planning and may want to leave it to their family when they go. But for those who want to think ahead – having that part of your life all sorted, can offer relief and reassurance. You’ll know what music you want played, you’re not leaving it to someone to guess, you’ll know that you want to be buried at your mothers Church and not where you most liked to go caravaning..
There are many places where you can discuss plans, or find further information about end-of-life planning.
Compassion in Dying has produced a guide to planning for your care and treatment. Visit: compassionindying.org.uk/library/starting-the-conversation/
More useful resources can be found on the Dying Matters website dyingmatters.org/
NHS choices website has information and support for end-of-life planning at nhs.uk/planners/end-of-life-care/pages/starting-to-talk-about-your-illness.aspx